Revista: Ruben Garcia's confession is worrying, says Guillem Balague

Last Updated: 12/05/14 2:33pm

Ruben Garcia's revelations that his Levante team-mates may have been open to 'incentive payments' to defeat Atletico Madrid have been described as a "rotten situation" by Guillem Balague.

Levante shocked Atletico 2-0 to cause further twists in the title race but Ruben stole headlines for negative reasons with his tongue-in-cheek revelation that he would accept payments to put in extra effort to win a game.

These payments - referred to as 'briefcases' in Spain - would be paid by a third party to a team in Levante's situation of approaching the end of the season with nothing at stake to beat a team like Atletico who might win the league.

"The risk is those mid-table teams who are playing for nothing, they play even worse than they should sometimes because 'if you want us to play competitively then maybe you should pay'."

Guillem Balague

"What's interesting is that it's probably true that they were paid to win," Spanish football expert Balague told Revista.

"[Ruben] had to be reminded by the head of the league that it's illegal to be paid to be win!"

Answering who might pay Ruben and co, Balague said: "Teams who need Levante to win.

"It's happened for many, many years. It's illegal according to the sporting law now but what's interesting is that the head of the trade union for footballers would like this to be made legal because they think it actually balances the league out.

"There are teams who are playing for nothing at the end and it's a way of motivating them.

Culture

"You would say 'what about fair play'?

"I saw Crystal Palace last night - they drew against Liverpool. Nobody would suggest in England that they were motivated by money or paid money - different culture.

"I'm not saying pay them to lose. The criticism from people is that it's a very close line between paying them to win and paying them to lose."

Former Real Madrid manager John Toshack concurred: "It happens, I can guarantee you that is happens.

"It's only since I've been abroad that I've seen these kind of things happening.

"As a manager, that's an insult to my motivation."

Balague warned: "The risk is those mid-table teams who are playing for nothing, they play even worse than they should sometimes because 'if you want us to play competitively then maybe you should pay'.

"So it creates a rotten situation."